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List of Scottish castles reachable by public transport

HorizonsHorizons VisitScotland Contributor ✭✭✭
I have done almost all my Scotland travel on public transport (as I can't drive) and have compiled this list of 10 castles across Scotland that can be seen by using public transport alone. The list is a mix of city (frequent connections) & non-city (infrequent connections).

For folk not familiar with Scotland transport, you can plan your journey to any of these castles using Traveline Scotland or Google Maps and book tickets & browse schedules on these links: ScotRail (train), Citylink (buses) & CalMac (ferries)

Using public transport to see castles was quite easy for most of the examples below and I did many of these as a day trip from Edinburgh (as the descriptions will make clear). Scotland's attractions are very well signposted from transport hubs making catching a train / bus and walking to a castle from the nearest stop easy and convenient. In the case of remote castles, I have sometimes needed to pre-book a taxi but it's never costed me more than £15. The best part is that you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the journey without having to focus on the road ahead!! :)

1. Edinburgh Castle

Nearest public transport hub: Edinburgh Waverley railway station

Getting to the castle: 15-min walk from Waverley station. Lothian buses also take you to other Edinburgh castles (such as Lauriston & Dalhousie)

2. Linlithgow Palace

Nearest public transport hub: Linlithgow railway station (frequent trains from Edinburgh & Glasgow)

Getting to the castle: 5-min walk from Linlithgow station.


3. Stirling Castle

Nearest public transport hub: Stirling station (frequent trains from Edinburgh & Glasgow)

Getting to the castle: 5-min walk from Stirling station.

4. Dunnottar Castle

Nearest public transport hub: Stonehaven railway station (a few Aberdeen-bound trains a day from Edinburgh & Glasgow)

Getting to the castle: An hour long walk from Stonehaven railway station via the town and the beautiful coastal route. Consider booking a taxi if short on time.

Bus connections: X7, 7 & 107 take you from town close to the castle


5. Kilchurn Castle

Nearest public transport hub: Loch Awe railway station (a few Oban-bound trains & buses a day from Glasgow).

Getting to the castle: A 40-min long walk from the Loch Awe railway station, take care of traffic while doing the walk. Stunning castle & loch views and tea room close to the station itself.

6. Duart Castle

Nearest public transport hub: Craignure ferry terminal (hourly ferries from Oban which in turn gets a few trains & buses a day from Glasgow)

Getting to the castle: The castle runs a coach service from the ferry terminal to the castle for a nominal fee (details here, check with the castle, if needed)


7. Inverness Castle & Urquhart Castle

Nearest public transport hub: Inverness railway station (train and bus connections from Aberdeen, Glasgow, Edinburgh & even London)

Bus connections (for Urquhart castle): Bus 19/119 on a weekday, Citylink buses to Fort William / Portree on all days from Inverness bus station.

Getting to the Inverness Castle: A 5-minute walk from the station.


8. Eilean Donan Castle

Nearest public transport hub: Kyle of Lochalsh railway station (one end of the Inverness – Kyle line)

Bus connections: Bus 915 / 916 / 917 run by Scottish Cityline on the Glasgow – Fort William – Skye and Inverness – Skye routes.


9. Blair castle

Nearest public transport hub: Blair Atholl station (Inverness-bound trains from Edinburgh & Glasgow, local bus 83 from Pitlochry)

Getting to the castle: A 10-min walk from the train station

10. Lochranza castle

Nearest public transport hub: Brodick, Isle of Arran (reached by taking a train to Ardrossan Harbour and a ferry to Brodick). This is the hardest castle to get to from the main cities!

Getting to the castle: A 40-minutes bus ride on the 324 towards Blackwaterfoot.


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Full blogpost over on my blog Beyond our Horizons. It contains a couple more pictures and my favourite reasons for visiting the listed castles. Feel free to pose any questions about Scotland public transport travel below and I'll be happy to answer it.

Have you been to any other Scottish castles outside of this list? Would love to hear your experience and any logistical details. There are a few more examples in this other thread.

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Best of Scotland in 1 Week

See Scotland with us (incl: SkyeMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban)

Comments

  • HorizonsHorizons VisitScotland Contributor ✭✭✭
    I should add that some castles can be seen FOR FREE this upcoming weekend (25th and 26th Nov) as part of the annual Historic Scotland ticket giveaway for the St. Andrews day celebration. Tickets must be booked from this website: https://www.ticketgiveaway.co.uk/
     
    The Edinburgh castles have had their tickets sold out but there are gems like Urquhart castle (on the list above), St. Andrews Cathedral and Huntly castle among others with tickets left.

    The giveaway closes 5 PM on Friday 24th Nov. This is one of my favourite times of the year simple because I use the giveaway to see a new Historic Scotland property for free.
    We're a globetrotting travel blogger couple. Find us on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 Week

    See Scotland with us (incl: SkyeMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban)
  • ParsmanParsman Member ✭✭
    We often get asked about this in Aberdeenshire (Scotland's only Castle Trail folks). Besides Dunnottar, we also have Crathes and Drum Castles on the Royal Deeside bus route out from Aberdeen. Huntly Castle is also easily accessible by bus or train. There is also Slains Castle on the coast just north of Cruden Bay about 45 minutes by bus and famous for its association with Bram Stoker when he was writing Dracula. And not quite a castle but Duff House is a mansion house that is included on the Castle Trail and is a part of the national Galleries of Scotland. 
  • HorizonsHorizons VisitScotland Contributor ✭✭✭
    Crathes castle looks beautiful! Yeah the whole of inland Aberdeenshire has a large number of castles which I just have not gotten time to explore. Braemar is another such example (though quite far from Aberdeen).
    We're a globetrotting travel blogger couple. Find us on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 Week

    See Scotland with us (incl: SkyeMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban)
  • HorizonsHorizons VisitScotland Contributor ✭✭✭
    Thanks to the power of social media, I have been able to crowd-source the following castles also reachable by public transport (enough to make a part 2 and 3 for this post). Google Maps & Traveline Scotland should be able to show you the connections for these from the nearest regional hub.

    Inveraray (Argyll), Brodick (Arran), St. Andrews, Torosay (Mull), Mey, Dunrobin (both NC500), Balmoral, Braemar (both Aberdeenshire), Glamis, Scone (both Perth), Dudhope, Mains, Powrie, Broughty Ferry, Claypotts (all 5 Dundee)
    We're a globetrotting travel blogger couple. Find us on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 Week

    See Scotland with us (incl: SkyeMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban)
  • ScathachScathach Member ✭✭
    Fyvie castle is another one that can be reached by public transport. Number 35 from Aberdeen's bus station.
  • HorizonsHorizons VisitScotland Contributor ✭✭✭
    Aberdeenshire is such a castle hotspot, it is a shame I have not gotten a chance to explore it yet. Thanks for the recommendation @Scathach the castle looks beautiful!
    We're a globetrotting travel blogger couple. Find us on Facebook | Instagram

    Best of Scotland in 1 Week

    See Scotland with us (incl: SkyeMullArranOrkneyLoch Lomond, Islay, Oban)
  • VisitScotlandPatriciaVisitScotlandPatricia Member, Moderator
    Braemar Castle in Aberdeenshire is another castle that can be reached by public transport.Number 201 from Aberdeen's bus station. Check the opening times as it closes for a  number of months in the winter.
  • VisitScotlandJulieVisitScotlandJulie Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    edited November 24
    Tantallon Castle is reachable by public transport from North Berwick. Catch the number 120 bus from Church Road (or the train station) and get off at the Tantallon Castle bus stop just ten minutes later.

    Dirleton Castle is also reachable using the bus that runs between Edinburgh and North Berwick (Church Road) - 124/X24 First Bus. Get off at Dirleton Castle bus stop.

    To get to North Berwick from Edinburgh, you can go by train from Waverley Station or bus 124/X24 First Bus from the city centre. It is possible to visit both in one day as a day trip from Edinburgh.
  • ScathachScathach Member ✭✭
    If you are in Oban it's worth going to Dunstaffnage castle. It can be reached by both public transport and on foot as well. I did it on foot and came back by bus.
    The walk is lovely but it's over 3 miles. The bus takes about half an hour.
    It's a lovely castle and in a lovely and scenic area.

    Another stunning castle is Dunrobin. It's a mile and a half from Golspie which can be reached by train. I was there and it's a stunning castle. They also have some great falconry displays. However, I think it's a seasonal castle.

    Again, if you are in Oban there's Kilchrun castle. If you get the Oban to Glasgow train and get off in Loch Awe and then you have a 30 mins walk to the castle. It's located in an amazing location. 

    Lochleven castle is in Kinross. Megabus usually stops in Kinross. From there you can walk to the pier where you can get the wee ferry to the island where Loch Leven is. Lovely place.

    If you end up visiting Shetland you can pop in Scalloway castle. Right in the centre of the village.
  • VisitScotlandMarinaVisitScotlandMarina Member, Moderator, VisitScotland Staff
    You can get to Culzean Castle by bus from Ayr. Take the No 60 from the station and it stops right at the entrance to the park and then a wee walk to the castle. Remember though the the castle itself is closed over the winter, but the grounds are open all year round. 
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